Viggo Mortensen and Javier Bardem have been rumoured for the lead role (gunslinger Roland Deschain of Gilead) in the adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower. Now it looks like one has booked that job and the other is up for the role of the huntsman in Snow White and The Huntsman. Read on to find out who's got the axe and who's got the gun.
According to Deadline New York, an official offer has gone out to Javier Bardem to play Roland Deschain. For a brief period, while Mortensen and Bardem were under consideration, it appeared that Christian Bale has become the front-runner for the role. Thankfully (in this writer's opinion) that was short-lived.
Nothing is set in stone as yet, and Bardem is likely to want to consider the choice carefully, as the job could turn out to be a long slog. Currently, the plan is to turn the seven-book series (with another on the way) into three films and two TV series, the first bridging the gap between film one and two and the second as a prequel (we're guessing that this series would be based on the prequel comics). Ron Howard is to direct the first film and first TV series, before handing it over to another director. Long-term filmmaking partner Brian Grazer is to produce.
Bardem's character Roland is descended from a long line of gunslingers (peacekeepers and diplomats of his society) in a world that has “moved on”: it's almost like a magical Wild West. He is a thirtieth-generation descendent of his world's version of King Arthur, Arthur Eld. He begins his journey alone as the last surviving gunslinger. His quest is to reach The Dark Tower, a fabled building that is both physical and metaphorical, where he will climb to the top and question whatever god dwells there. The Dark Tower is the axis around which infinite numbers of parallel worlds rotate, making it a target for the villain of the series, the Crimson King, Lord of Discordia. Roland is driven by ka (a force like destiny) and over the course of his journey, he meets people who join him, forming his ka-tet (people who are bonded through ka).
The ka-tet also includes Jake Chambers, an eleven-year-old boy who first finds himself in Roland's world after being run over and killed by a car; Eddie Dead, a drug addict who Roland draws into Mid-World; Susannah Dean, an African-American woman who suffers from schizophrenia and whose personalities have individual names; and Oy, the billy-bumbler, a strange creature described in the book as having the appearance of a “badger, raccoon and dog, [and] have a limited speaking ability” (For those people who keep stopping me on the train and asking, this is who my dachshund is named after). The New York Post claims that two actresses are currently on the shortlist to play Susannah Dean: Jennifer Carpenter and Ghita Tazi. I like Jennifer Carpenter, and her foul mouth a la Dexter fits the character of Susannah, and I'm sure Ghita Tazi is a great actress but I'll draw your attention to the top of this paragraph: Susannah is African American. Please, casting directors, learn from the mistakes of The Last Airbender. No word yet on any other characters, or how they're going to create Oy but we guess that CGI will be involved.
So with Mortensen probably out of the running for Roland, what will he do instead? According to THR's Heat Vision blog, he is in talks to play the huntsman in Snow White and the Huntsman. If it all works out he will join Charlize Theron, who is in negotiations to play the evil queen.
Universal is amongst three studios adapting the fairytale; the competing projects are Disney's Snow White and the Seven and Relativity Media's The Brothers Grimm: Snow White. Universal's take on the story will be directed by Rupert Sanders and will see the huntsman sent to kill Snow White, not only sparing her but also giving her a little combat training.
While initial reports had the studio looking for a relatively unknown actress for the role of the fairest of them all, Heat Vision is suggesting that Kristen Stewart might take on the character. Her name was apparently on a list alongside Riley Keough, Felicity Jones, Bella Heathcoat and Alicia Vikander. It's not all sewn up though: Sucker Punch star Emily Browning was tested last week (which is interesting as Twilight author Stephenie Meyer reportedly chose Browning as her Bella before Stewart was cast). Since Twilight, Stewart has chosen to work on indie projects. If she takes this role, it'll be her first studio project since becoming a star.
Snow White and the Huntsman is due to film this summer with a planned December 2012 release.